A report by a Nigerian journalist dominated headlines recently after he bagged a Cotonou University degree in six weeks and subsequently participated in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme for the second time.
Reports gathered that the journalist, Umar Audu, who reports for the Daily Nigerian Newspaper, went undercover and reached out to a racketeering syndicate that specializes in selling degree certificates from neighbouring countries such as the Benin Republic, Togo, and some parts of Cameroon at exorbitant prices to willing applicants.
In an interview on AIT Kakaaki on Tuesday, Audu revealed that he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication certificate from the Ecole Superieure de Gestion et de Technologies (ESGT) in Cotonou, Benin Republic, without going to Contonou, let alone the school.
According to him, he reached out to the racketeering agents who work hand-in-hand with the top management of the university campus in Cotonou, whose registrar and English section coordinator are Nigerians.
“This thing is not new; it has been going on in Benin Republic, Togo, and some parts of Cameroon for a long time.
“I didn’t go to the school; I was in Abuja. I was given contacts for agents. I called one of the contacts and told him what I needed. He said that is not a problem and that they have been doing it for people. I wasn’t given an admission letter. I just made an initial payment of N380,000 and other small payments, which amounted to N600,000 for everything.
“The funny thing is that a university is accredited by both the governments of Benin Republic and Nigeria, and they offer over 300 courses.
“The agent asked me if I wanted to study for a year or a month. I went for the one-month option.
“I made the payment on December 27, 2022, and I was issued a payment receipt. The certificate and transcript of the school were delivered to my office on February 17, 2023.
“The transcript indicated I commenced studying at the institution in 2018 and graduated on September 5, 2022. There was an error on the certificate; they wrote female on the certificate instead of male, so I reached out to the agent and pointed it out to him. He said I should return it so they could issue another one to me. I did as he instructed, and I was issued another certificate in March,” he narrated.
Speaking on how he was able to be mobilized for the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme for the second time, which he thought was impossible, he said he made an additional payment of N60,000 to the agent to get an evaluation letter from the Federal Ministry of Education for him.
“Part of the agreement with the agent was that he would get the evaluation letter from the Federal Ministry of Education for me. After I got my result, he said he couldn’t get my evaluation letter because of some policies from the ministry. But I said this wasn’t part of the agreement, and he assured me he would get it for me and that I should exercise patience.
“So, on May 23, he called me and sent my evaluation letter to me. Before then, while I was pressurizing him, he said I would have to make some money, which I did. I paid a total of N60,000 to get the letter,” he added.
However, Audu, after a tedious mobilization process, was eventually cleared for both physical and online evaluations and, on November 22, posted to Cross River for a one-year NYSC scheme.